10 Cruiserweight Wrestling Champions Who Later Won World Titles

WWE, ECW, Impact, NJPW, AEW examples included here for champs in the land of giants!

Chris Jericho

The cruiserweight division has been left as nothing more than an afterthought in some of the biggest wrestling companies. Look to the WWF with the Light Heavyweights in the turn of the century (that was only created to contrast WCW’s first-rate Cruiserweight Division), where some of the most artistic and athletic wrestlers wasted away for years on secondary shows like Heat and Velocity. The once reputable Cruiserweight Championship was used as nothing more than a prop for comedy reigns in Chavo Classic and Jacqueline before finally being done away with altogether after Hornswoggle’s reign as champ. Thankfully smaller wrestlers have been treated with far more respect in Japan in their Junior Heavyweight division and spotlighted in modern WWE with the Cruiserweight Classic tournament, 205 Live and the rechristened NXT Cruiserweight Championship (thanks Triple H).

‘Once a cruiserweight, always a cruiserweight…’ has been the mindset for some of the most powerful people in wrestling. It’s been challenging for some to see them more than just high-flyers that can do all the flips that are good for popping the crowd. Talent like Dean Malenko, Kid Kash and Billy Kidman couldn’t shake off the cruiserweight stigma and get the momentum to go further in their careers. With how promotions have looked at the title and performers in the past, it’s impressive to think of the ones who broke free of the stigma and reached heavyweight gold.

Here we’ll look at 10 one-time cruiserweight division performers who went above and beyond and reached world titles:

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Chris Jericho
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